Sunday morning as North Texans awoke to cold rain, three FedEx trucks were escorted out of a Pfizer facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan, precariously packed with COVID-19 vaccines. The semis, which have “Custom Critical” written on the back, are the first measure in an intricate logistical symphony now being played out across the country.
Additionally, on Sunday, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Dr. Robert Redfield gave the final all-clear for the vaccine to be administered. Ready or not, rain or snow, the go button has officially been pushed.
The head of the nation's coronavirus vaccine efforts, Moncef Slaoui, told Fox News the government plans to distribute 40 million vaccine doses by the end of the year, then another 50 to 80 million doses in January and February, which will likely be distributed in tiers of essential works and at-risk adults with medical conditions. Nonessential, relatively healthy adults will likely have to wait until the summer or fall of 2021.
Where It’s Going
Vaccine allotment to states had already been determined based on need and population. Texas should receive 224,250 doses this week, which are being shipped directly to 109 hospitals in 34 counties. About 31,200 of those doses are headed for Dallas, Plano, McKinney and Irving. Tarrant County will receive almost 18,000 doses.
CVS and Walgreens pharmacies will coordinate vaccinations directly with long-term care facilities, which continue to experience a grueling number of cases. More than 100 places in Dallas County are dealing with outbreaks of COVID-19.
All major hospitals in the area are receiving shipments of 5,850 doses each including UT Southwestern, Methodist Medical Center and Parkland. Baylor University Medical Center will receive 2,925 and Medical City Dallas and Christus Health Clinic of Irving will get 1,950 doses. Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, North Texas Infectious Diseases Consultants and Baylor Scott And White Medical Center will all get 975 doses.
Major medical centers in McKinney, Plano, Decatur, Grapevine, Fort Worth, Arlington and Burleson are also on the list.
Who Gets It
The Texas Department of Health and Human Services developed guiding principles to determine who should receive the vaccine first. Priority is broken into two tiers; the first group includes hospital staff working directly with patients who are positive or at high-risks for COVID-19 to include:
“Physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and other support staff (custodial staff, etc.)” and “Additional clinical staff providing supporting laboratory, pharmacy, diagnostic and/or rehabilitation service”
The rest o the first tier includes long-term care staff working directly with vulnerable residents; EMS providers who respond to 911 calls; prehospital care and transports; home health care workers, including hospice care and those who directly interact with vulnerable and high-risk patients and finally residents of long-term care facilities.
Tier two goes to staff at outpatient care offices who interact with symptomatic patients. Then, direct care staff in freestanding emergency medical care facilities, urgent care clinics and community pharmacy staff who interact with clients or patients.
The last of the first round includes public health officials and emergency staff directly involved in the administration of testing and vaccines, last-responders who provide mortuary or death services to descendants (embalmers, funeral home workers, medical examiners), and "school nurses who provide health care to students and teachers."
Teachers are not included in tier one or two.
According to Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins' office, tier one is slated to start this week.
As far as the time timing of the vaccine for everyone else, Jenkins' office said it will be between July and October.
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